This is the first in a series of short articles intended to help you, the reader, find greater success with fewer costly mistakes. Please take note: I didn’t write this article under the premise that I’m perfect when it comes to business. To the contrary, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, some more costly than others. Through it all, I’ve followed the philosophy that Akio Morita communicated so well (find below). It is my hope that some of my experiences in business and in my practice will help you.
“Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. But make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice”
MISTAKES AND THE SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS
It’s good to learn from our mistakes. In fact, we often learn more from our mistakes than we do our successes. If you’ve made some mistakes (actually “mistake” is just a polite euphemism for poor choices and decisions), and you can justifiably assign their expense to, Tuition At The School Of Hard Knocks (Meaning you learned valuable and durable lessons), then… replace that frown with a smile my friend, because the experience was likely more of a net gain than a loss. Unfortunately tuition to, “Hard Knocks U”, can be incredibly expensive (in a variety of ways), so it’s important to be both a quick learner in respect to your own “mistakes”, and to learn vicariously through the experiences of others.
People in therapeutic professions are usually in their chosen discipline because they want to help other people. The mistake they often make in the process is, feeling bad about making money and/or having difficulty asking for money. If you truly want to help people, you must be able to pay the bills and you must be able to make a respectable living. If you go out of business, you won’t be helping anyone, including yourself. My prices (as far as I have been able to tell), are higher than anyone else’s in my market. I make no apologies for that because I deliver results. In fact, I truly believe that, in the bigger picture, I’m the most economical choice because I get things done right the first time. PLEASE, never view money as a bad thing. Money is not, “Dirty Money” and money is not “The Root Of All Evil”. Unfortunately, there will always be people who have little or no regard for others in their quest for money, but money its self is not evil. In fact, money can do a world of good. So, keep telling yourself, MONEY GOOD… MONEY GOOD… MONEY GOOD!
The best mindset for selling is one of Not Selling. The best mindset for success is a mindset of CONTRIBUTION. When our motives are positive and virtuous, “The Law Of Attraction” works well for us. I have learned never to attempt SELLING a person my goods and/or services. My preference is this… I help them acquire something of value that they need and that I can provide. The difference between these two viewpoints is subtle, but its value is profound in its simplicity. People can feel it when you’re attempting to help them. They can also feel it when your only motive is to make a sale… Any sale for the sake of the sale!
Your reputation is everything. Never be so hungry for profit that you sell something that the buyer doesn’t really need, or that you are uncertain you are prepared to fully deliver. Your confidence in your ability to OVER DELIVER the goods or services you provide, should be off the charts. It can be, if you always stay within the scope of your training, experience and ability and if you help people to purchase only something they really need.
Word of mouth is the absolute best form or advertising and customer acquisition. Other than our own newsletter and our Social Media (and those only began recently), I have not advertized in about 10 years and I have always been busy through mostly referrals. It’s because, I UNDER PROMISE and OVER DELIVER. One of our front desk people commented recently that, she was so amazed that pretty much everyone coming out of my therapy room was so very pleased with the service I provided them. That’s because I Cheat! I only take cases where I am confident that I can deliver the goods. I have over 2500 unsolicited testimonials, many of which are on our website, (There are many more yet to be posted. It’s a work in progress). This comes from giving the customer what he or she came for.
In reality does anyone, including myself, bat 1000 every time, achieving a perfect outcome in every case? Of course not! Not every case is going to have fantastic results and that can be for a number of reasons, not all of which are attributable to you. You do however want to make certain that the vast majority of the cases you take, end with a positive outcome. Remember the old saying, “Do something right and no one remembers. Do something wrong and no one forgets”. There is a lot of truth in that saying.
Before talking price, it is important to establish value. I bet that many of you reading this article have experienced the following: The phone rings. You pick it up and the voice on the other end says, “How much do you charge for a stop smoking session”. You reply, “$150.00” (or whatever your price is). The voice on the other end says, “Thank You”. Then comes a click and the person is gone. Giving price before establishing value is a big mistake. In this scenario, you had the opportunity (and did not take advantage of it), to engage the person by first saying, “How long have you been smoking”, “How much do you smoke each day”, and so on and then begin to tell them what you can do for them. It is an absolute priority to establish value before discussing price.
THE ASSUMPTIVE SALE
It’s important to engage a prospect and learn about his or her goals and expectations. Show a true and genuine interest in their goals. They will appreciate it and will respond accordingly. Once I’ve determined that a case is one I should take, I proceed on the premise that, it’s already a done deal. Everything I say and do from that moment forward implies that idea. For example, I would never say, “If you decide to come to me for sessions, the first session would be 2 hours long and any subsequent sessions would be about an hour in length”. “If” and “would” are words that will never pass over my lips in that situation. The assumptive approach would be, WHEN you come for your initial sessions YOU’LL NEED TO SET ASIDE 2 HOURS. At that session WE WILL BE DOING YOUR INTAKE ETC. etc. At subsequent sessions YOU WILL BE WITH ME for about an hour each time… right? (A question with an implied yes answer, as I nod my head yes getting compliance from the person.)
ASKING FOR THE SALE
The most important part (and the part most often missed) is, ASKING FOR THE SALE! As I stated at the beginning of this article, you have nothing to be ashamed of by asking for money… providing you are delivering what the person is paying for (Remember, MONEY GOOD… MONEY GOOD… MONEY GOOD!)
Of course it would be rude of you to say, “Hey… Give me some money! There are, however, tactful ways to ask for payment. One of my favorites is: Would you prefer to use MasterCard or Visa? The important thing to remember is… IT’S A GOAL, NOT A SALE, UNTIL YOU ARE PAID!
IN CLOSING (Intentional Sales Pun)